ExploreNorth, your resource center for exploring the circumpolar North

Return to the Home Page The ExploreNorth Blog Arctic & Northern Books About ExploreNorth Contact ExploreNorth

Search ExploreNorth







MSTS Arctic Transport to DEW Line Stations, 1955


Sealift operations by MSTS (Military Sea Transportation Service) in 1955 to establish the Arctic DEW Line Stations, Central Sector. This was a massive project (Project 572) that sent 39 cargo ships of various types, 21 support ships, 117,000 tons of cargo, and 1,500 troops north to meet contractors who were already at work at the station sites. During the 45-day operation, sea, ice, and even land conditions were often far worse than had been expected, and drastic measures were sometimes employed. When one of the ships grounded, 1,500 tons of oil were pumped overboard to get her light enough to float, and late in the season, explosives were used to blast open passable channels that would allow the ships to escape back to southern ports. During the operation, 13 men drowned, and all but 4 of the 60 ships suffered some damage, from bent propellers to hull punctures (41:18).

More videos...